Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters of Native Appropriations,
I am beyond humbled at the outpouring of support and praise I received after my last post. I am so grateful for your kind and powerful comments, tweets, emails, and phone calls–and it was so unexpected.
I wrote the post not thinking anyone was going to read the nearly 4000 word behemoth, and really just needed to put it all on paper to be able to move forward and write again without feeling silenced or worried. So I was a bit taken aback at the response, but I feel so very loved and supported, so thank you, truly.
As always, I want to clarify and reiterate some things before they get out of hand. If you read my words, you’ll notice I don’t attack any of the parties involved, I simply reported on the events that occurred, and quoted from publicly available comment streams, while saying how they made me feel. None of my original posts on Tonto and/or Depp mention, or even refer, to Indian actors in the film, nor do they even attack Depp. I questioned his choices, his words, and his mis-match between intent and action, but never him as a person. That’s why all of these words against me felt so out of place and even more hurtful.
To those who are concerned I shared “private conversations”–I was asked at the end of the phone conversation if I had been recording, to which I replied, “No, it’s just me taking notes in my kitchen.” Saginaw said he didn’t mind if it had been recorded, only that his words not be altered. I took copious notes, and that’s what my post was based off of. Additionally, the team agreed I could share the information they gave me, so I felt comfortable sharing the content of our conversations.
I do want to shift some of the anger away from Saginaw–while he was the one who initiated the conversation, and was very critical of my writing and my “Indianness” (and I’m not making excuses for him here), it was his team (acting on his behalf) who were the ones reading quotes from the blog and forcing me to defend myself, and it was the subsequent and repeated comments by his assistant on my blog and facebook that caused the bulk of the pain in my eyes. I also don’t want the comments to turn to name-calling and bashing team Saginaw, because that isn’t moving the conversation forward, and as someone who knows how it feels, I don’t wish that feeling upon anyone. I’ve turned on comment moderation for the post, meaning I have to approve comments that come in, and I’ll be editing out any that don’t forward the conversation in productive ways, on either “side” of the issue. Unfortunately I can’t easily moderate comments on facebook, but I’ll do my best to keep an eye on things.
In closing, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can’t tell you how incredible it feels to know I have such a broad reaching community of support, and I never imagined that my words had left such a lasting impact on so many of you–I truly still write thinking that my audience consists of mostly my mom (hi Ma!), so hearing that so many of you use my blog in courses, conversations, and daily life was humbling, to say the least. I definitely didn’t start this blog for some quest for fame or attention, so I still deal with my discomfort around what all of that means, but you make it worthwhile. It’s a strange feeling to know how many people know so many of my deepest insecurities and personal struggles, but I feel empowered knowing that my experiences have resonated with so many of you.
I also read every single email that comes through the blog account (firstname.lastname@example.org), and though I’m horrible at actually returning emails, know that I read and appreciate all of your words, thoughts, and questions, so please keep them coming! I was informed yesterday that my auto-reply is super annoying (I forgot I even had put one up–I’ll fix that today!), so I may in the coming weeks make some separate accounts for submissions, questions, comments, etc.
If any of you would like to submit writings or guest posts, I’m always open to that too. In many ways I originally envisioned the blog as more of a “forum” with more voices than my own, so I would love to move toward that model in the future.
So don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, the blog will continue to focus on the hard-hitting issues of our day (I mean, how can we ignore the Naked Indian?!), and I will strive to keep the balance of snarky humor and serious commentary you’ve all come to know well.
Today I’m closing the book on the events of the last few months, and hope that we can move forward in a positive place, together.